Meet the Minds Behind Kraver's Canteen Cloud Kitchen - Kraver's Canteen

Meet the Minds Behind Kraver's Canteen Cloud Kitchen

Launched in 2020, Kraver's Canteen is now one of the country’s major cloud kitchen operations. Founded by food industry veteran Eric Thomas Dee, e-commerce authority Victor Lim, and finance specialist Victor Mapua, Kraver's currently has six kitchens that serve customers across Metro Manila. With a team of seasoned investors and industry leaders like Chris Po, Lance Gokongwei, Brian Cu, and Paulo Campos backing the concept, Kraver's Canteen is undoubtedly poised for success.

The Philippine dining scene was bustling pre-pandemic and although the industry took a hit over the last year, innovation and entrepreneurship ran wild. The cloud kitchen business model is one that was prevalent in other countries but had only made its eye-catching entry into the Philippine scene, thanks to the pandemic’s harsh effects on the local F&B ecosystem. With minimal overhead costs and no dine-in service, cloud kitchens can spend time perfecting delivery, customer service, branding and R&D.


Kravers Canteen owners Victor Mapua, Eric Thomas Dee and Victor Lim
ABOVE Kraver's Canteen owners Victor Mapua, Eric Thomas Dee and Victor Lim

However, the road to establishing a new business and operations model does come with its challenges. “In general, I think the most complicated part of any industry’s evolution is customer adoption. Most of the time, when something brilliant and new enters the market, even if the product is good, mass adoption is very difficult because people naturally resist change. Creating customer behaviour is extremely difficult, but once you achieve this, it’s not easy to unchange it either,” says Lim.

The biggest challenge that any cloud kitchen provider should be dealing with is the question of capacity
 Victor Lim

Interestingly, Lim foresees public interest in the cloud kitchen space dying down, post-pandemic. “Right now, cloud kitchens are all the rage because it is new and every food brand was forced to at least entertain the idea; but when life returns to ‘normal’, most likely some food brands will lose interest in the model as they return to their traditional F&B assets and go into recovery mode. But F&B brands that are growing will continue utilising cloud kitchen strategies, while customers will be ordering food from cloud kitchens, whether they specifically are aware of it or not,” he states.

To ensure meaningful growth and staying power for Kraver's, Dee and the team have extensively studied most of the major cloud kitchen players around the world. “We’ve realised that almost every operator focuses on primarily one of two things: building kitchens or building private label brands. We do both, yes, but it’s not the core of what we do. We are not a real-estate company, or a brand-development agency. We are a service provider for F&B brands looking to grow online,” Dee explains. What differentiates Kraver's Canteen from their competitors is the integrated spectrum of service solutions that they offer to their partner F&B brands. “Given the different backgrounds and experiences of our team, we realised there was a greater opportunity to service brands in a more substantial way than a lessor-lessee relationship,” Dee underscores.

From kitchen rental spaces, software and tech services and restaurant production fulfilment to full end-to-end management, Kraver's Canteen provides sage advice and direction with bespoke handling given to each valued restaurant.

See also: How To Run A Family Business: Lessons From FooDee Global Concepts' Eric Thomas Dee

We want customers to tell us what they want and where they want it; and we’ll match it up with brand partners to make it a reality
 Eric Thomas Dee

When it comes to dining, great food is ultimately what catches people’s attention. To ensure quality in cookery, flavour and kitchen operations, Kraver's invested not just in one-star chef, but in a strong R&D team comprising many talented chefs with global experiences. Along with brand consultants and business experts, the team ensures that food, service and operations are in tip-top shape. “There are many hands and heads that go into executing a brand. We just extend our services to loan some extra support and share some of the burden. It’s still up to the brands to set guidelines, manage quality control and monitor the execution of the brand,” Dee adds.

“The biggest challenge that any cloud kitchen provider should be dealing with is the question of capacity. Unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant, which moderates the kitchen capacity and forecasts based on a fixed number of seats, cloud kitchens must be able to deal with more extreme peaks and valleys associated with online ordering behaviour,” Lim points out. “We learnt that there is zero room for error when it comes to managing online-only brands, in terms of quality, speed and service. It’s a reality of the playing field we are in, so we just have to overcompensate in every aspect to stay competitive,” he elaborates.

What’s next for Kraver's's? In the long-term, their goal is to make it as easy as possible for F&B brands to enter the market and reach online customers in the Philippines. “We want more brands, and more importantly better brands, to reach us whether we are at home, at the office, or travelling across the country. We want customers to tell us what they want and where they want it; and we’ll match it up with brand partners to make it a reality,” Dee says with optimism.


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